Head in a blender

Picked up another juicy project to customize the Domino directory - Yum!

Andy Pedisich  September 17 2008 12:44:29 PM
I used to be a complete control freak about the address book.  You know, that sort of "all NAB customizations are bad" kind of thing.  This was probably a reflection of clients at the time, who didn't want to deal with customizations come upgrade time.

But now I am seeing more companies that are willing to do the work at upgrade because they want the productivity gains from having the directory more organized for their business purposes and easier for their employees to take advantage of.  

They also seek to make the Domino directory the single source for all demographic data, like phone numbers, locations, managers, and so on.  And since that information isn't really maintained in Notes and is kept in separate silos in spreadsheets and other databases,  they would like to have a way to synchronize these external sources with the Domino directory.  I've already done something like this, so it's no problem.

All this is great to do in Notes because Notes has the flexibility to pull it off.  It's one of the bits that make Notes so much more fun than Exchange, where stuff like this would require massive effort.

Just a couple of tidbits in the customization that make sense to me...

First, completely hide the entire configuration tab from normal users.  Users don't need to see it.  Use roles so that only the right people can get there.  Normal people should see people and groups.  Not the Deny groups, of course.
Second, provide a few more views (lots, actually) that group users into departments, locations, campuses, what-have-you.
Third, allow users to see users in a view, select them, and then, using a button, address an email to them.   It may sound weird, but if you're using the Domino directory as your centralized location for all information in the world, people start living in it. And, in case you haven't noticed, there is space for a lot of this info already in the NAB.  Some domains are just better than others at exploiting that space.

- Andy

PS
Here are the rules for customizing the Domino directory in Administrator's Help.
Comments

1Chris Toohey  9/17/2008 1:27:11 PM  Picked up another juicy project to customize the Domino directory - Yum!

What about a modified dircat or an implementation of Connections Profiles? I dunno - I'm still gun-shy about modifying the design of the Domino Directory.

2Kevin Pettitt  9/17/2008 1:37:16 PM  Picked up another juicy project to customize the Domino directory - Yum!

Since NAB customizations touch on the issue of user profile information, you might want to check out a recent related discussion on vowe.net here: { http://vowe.net/archives/009845.html . } .

3Andy Pedisich  9/17/2008 1:37:34 PM  Picked up another juicy project to customize the Domino directory - Yum!

See! That's exactly what I'm talking about!!

Why should you be gun shy about adding stuff to help the user community?

We're not changing anything that would affect the security, stability or performance of the system.

- Andy

4Chris Toohey  9/17/2008 2:09:45 PM  Picked up another juicy project to customize the Domino directory - Yum!

What about voiding Lotus support? Last thing I want a customer to go through is calling into IBM for support and being told that - despite paying for it - they're now running under some "unsupported" setup.

5Andy Pedisich  9/17/2008 2:10:26 PM  Picked up another juicy project to customize the Domino directory - Yum!

There are rules for customizing the Domino directory in the Adminstrator's Help database. I've never broken any of these rules and we won't break them now either.

I've added a link to the rules in the main post.

- Andy

6Kevin Pettitt  9/17/2008 2:18:19 PM  Picked up another juicy project to customize the Domino directory - Yum!

Well, I would still probably opt for a separate "User Profile" database that would be set up to closely synchronize with NAB data. I'm all for view customizations and hiding outline entries from normal users, but those changes are dead easy to re-implement post upgrade and are unlikely to need changing because of the upgrade. Form field changes are much more of a potential headache.

The other area where a separate application comes in handy is managing group changes. Simply letting anyone directly edit "their" groups is fine, but you may not like their choice of replica on which to do it, and there is no audit trail or (easy) rollback. My preferred approach is to drop access to Reader on the NAB directly, and use a separate application to facilitate group changes, as well as deletions and additions. Doing that not only streamlines workflow and auditability, but allows for crazy things like group "cloning", populating default field values based on a user's profile (e.g. department), enforcing group naming conventions (to say nothing of other required fields). You could also make it easy to see what groups a user is currently a member of (nested or otherwise), and check which databases a group is used in (to purge stale ones).

"Test"